------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Collides With Power Politics (Sacramento Bee columnist Peter H. King recounts the recent cultivation bust of Steve Kubby, the medical-marijuana patient/activist and 1998 California gubernatorial candidate. Prohibition agents obtained a search warrant after they observed Kubby showing a plant to a man they believed was a customer. In reality, the man was Pete Brady, a correspondent for High Times magazine.) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 15:11:07 -0500 To: email@example.com From: "CRRH mailing list" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Medical Marijuana Collides With Power Politics Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 Source: Sacramento Bee (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Sacramento Bee Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: P.O.Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852 Feedback: http://www.sacbee.com/about_us/sacbeemail.html Website: http://www.sacbee.com/ Forum: http://www.sacbee.com/voices/voices_forum.html Author: Peter H. King Note: Peter H. King's column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Bee. Write him at P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, 95852, or call (916) 321-1892; e-mail: email@example.com. MEDICAL MARIJUANA COLLIDES WITH POWER POLITICS The only thing government can do is crack down on crime. By making more and more things a crime -- that's how government is able to expand its power. --Steve Kubby, Libertarian Party candidate for governor, in an interview last September OLYMPIC VALLEY -- For more than an hour, the candidate had sat in a Fresno coffee shop, merrily lobbing one rhetorical hand grenade after another. Steve Kubby was against the death penalty and for an open border. He regarded speeding tickets as literal "highway robbery," thought Central Valley farmers should be growing hemp, opposed seat belt laws and gun-control laws alike. His most passionately held position, however, involved the nation's "War on Drugs," which he described as a "failure" that overloaded prisons and "made millionaires out of thugs." For Kubby, a 52-year-old electronic magazine publisher, this issue was personal. More than 20 years earlier, he had been diagnosed with an extremely rare and typically fatal form of cancer. To the mystification of medical authorities, Kubby discovered that marijuana alleviated his symptoms and apparently kept the cancer in check. He became a proponent of medicinal marijuana, and in 1996 played a major role in the successful campaign for Prop. 215, which theoretically made pot legal medicine in California. Now, with the interview winding down, the otherwise free-wheeling politician asked to go off the record. Kubby confided he was concerned about drug police payback. He had received a tip: A stakeout of his Lake Tahoe residence was under way. Specifically, he had been warned to watch out for a green Jeep Cherokee with tinted windows. He wasn't sure whether to believe this, and he did not want to come across in a campaign interview as a caricature of pot-induced paranoia. Still. ... Jump ahead now to a Tuesday morning in mid-January. Kubby's wife, Michelle -- who also takes marijuana, with a doctor's endorsement, for a chronic stomach ailment -- was playing with her 3-year-old daughter. She saw a green Jeep drive by. A few minutes later came the knock on the door. "We have a search warrant," the lead officer announced, and in trooped a dozen or more investigators. They moved to the basement, where Kubby was growing the marijuana that he maintains keeps him alive. In the well-equipped "growing rooms," the officers found about 130 mature plants and an equal number of seedlings. The discovery should not have come as a surprise; Kubby had not exactly been covering his tracks. In fact, since the tip about the stakeout, he had been placing "attention law enforcement" notes in the trash, explaining his medical condition and acknowledging the cultivation of marijuana. He had guessed -- accurately, it turned out -- that the garbage would be searched. According to law enforcement files, the investigation had been triggered last July by an unsigned letter. It accused Kubby of growing more than a thousand plants and selling pot to finance his political campaign. Investigators began a surveillance, peering through his back windows from the woods behind the house. After they observed Kubby showing a plant to a man they believed to be a customer -- he was, Kubby would say, a correspondent for High Times magazine -- they obtained the search warrant. Four hours into the search, Steve and Michelle Kubby were handcuffed and loaded into a vehicle for the ride to jail, where they would be booked for investigation of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale. Before they left, Kubby asked if he could take some of his "medicine" with him. No, the investigator said, the jail had a "no-smoking policy." The Kubbys have pleaded not guilty, contending they never sold marijuana and their crop was not excessive. Among medical marijuana proponents there is hope that a trial might shine needed light on what they see as a refusal by law enforcement authorities to accept and abide by Prop. 215. For his part, the Placer County prosecutor handling the case has told reporters that "if a jury decides that 265 plants are all right, then that is justice. But if the jury decides it's just too much, justice is done then, too." While Kubby was in jail, awaiting release on his own recognizance, his original physician urged the judge by letter not to deprive the prisoner of his marijuana. Dr. Vincent DeQuattro of the USC Medical Center noted that Kubby's condition -- malignant pheochromocytoma, or adrenal cancer -- is almost always fatal. In fact, the doctor added, until he received his voter pamphlet last fall, he'd assumed that Kubby, whom he had not seen for more than a decade, was dead. "Faith healers," wrote DeQuattro, "would term Steve's existence these past 10-15 years as nothing short of a miracle. In my view, this miracle, in part, is related to the therapy with marijuana." Unfortunately, the fight over medical marijuana never has seemed to have much to do with medicine. It's more about power, about who gets to make the rules. And the passage of Prop. 215, it would seem, settled nothing. *** KUBBY LEGAL DEFENSE FUND c/o Dale Wood Attorney at Law 10833 Donner Pass Road Truckee, CA 96161 (530) 587-3450 Alternately credit card contributions can be made on line at http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm Be sure to note KUBBY LEGAL DEFENSE FUND in the message box. DrugSense will act as the intermediary and forward your donation
------------------------------------------------------------------- Diluted cocaine may be tied to Richmond killings (According to the Contra Costa Times, in California, police in the Bay Area community of Richmond theorize that a recent spate of shootings and perhaps even two of this year's homicides may be linked to an alleged shortage of cocaine. Police believe the supposed shortage is caused by their successful interdiction efforts and as a consequence, there is an increase in "bunk dope" cut with everything from detergent to plasterboard.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: Diluted cocaine may be tied to Richmond killings Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 17:08:05 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Contra Costa Times Published on February 14, 1999 Online: http://www.hotcoco.com/news/eastbay/west/stories/aga00706.htm Diluted cocaine may be tied to Richmond killings * So-called "bunk dope" is flooding the drug market because police crackdowns have limited supplies of the pure substance on streets By Sonia Giordani TIMES STAFF WRITER RICHMOND -- Street-corner drug dealers call it "The Drought." The kilos just aren't coming in like they did, and word on the street is that "bunk dope" -- cocaine cut with anything from detergent to plaster board -- is more common than ever. Federal, state and local police agencies have been cracking down hard on top-rung West County drug dealers in recent months. And now Richmond police say the dwindling supply may be raising the ire among nervous street-corner dealers and their customers, who appear to be increasingly dissatisfied with what they have been getting for their money. Richmond Police Chief Ed Duncan said a recent spate of shootings and perhaps even two of this year's homicides may be linked to the restricted supplies and the "bunk dope" trading hands. "We think it's the fallout. As we continue to hit the top drug traffickers in the area, it's creating a void out there on the streets, and it may be the cause of these recent shootings," Duncan said. Since the first of the year, Richmond has reported four homicides. In the last two weeks, two Richmond men were fatally shot in neighborhoods that police have targeted as areas with high drug activity. Last week, a 30-year-old Richmond man was killed on Fourth Street, and on Jan. 27, a 31-year-old man was killed at South 35th and South Beck streets. "At this point, we believe that at least one of the last four homicides have been directly related to bunk dope being sold," Duncan said. Richmond police have cooperated with numerous federal, state and other local law enforcement agencies to crack down on the most notorious drug traffickers. A three-year investigation culminated in the arrest of eight Bay Area residents in mid-December suspected in a massive drug trafficking operation that brought hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into West Contra Costa County and specifically into North Richmond, Richmond and San Pablo. One community outreach worker, who asked that her name not be disclosed because her life could be endangered, described what's being dealt on the streets as a mishmash of dangerous substances. "I hear they mix cocaine with crank, heroin, Sheetrock (plasterboard), Tide -- and I'm talking about the soap you wash your clothes with," she said. Despite the crackdown, she said the demand for drugs in Richmond is still too great. "In this business, you knock out one connection and another one comes through," she said. "It'll always be around. And whenever there's a drought, the street dealers just sell a little less for the time being and wait it out." Sonia Giordani covers police and public safety. Reach her at 510-262-2728 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Valentine's Massacre Marked End Of Era (Katie C. Moore, a columnist for the Daily Herald, in in Arlington Heights, Illinois, says the warehouse where bootleggers killed their rivals in 1929 was demolished in 1967, when a Canadian businessman purchased the wall, once stained with the blood of the seven gangsters executed in front of it, and rebuilt it, brick by brick, in a men's club in Saskatchewan. "There's no question that what [Al Capone] did in the 1920s and '30s laid the foundation for organized crime today," said Ross Rice, a spokesman for the FBI. Some of the Mafia leaders of the 1970s were Capone's underlings in the 1920s. While street gangs and mob crime families do not now deal in illegal alcohol, they still have their hands in drugs, gambling and businesses in the Chicago area.) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 14:02:48 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US IL: Valentine's Massacre Marked End Of Era Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Pubdate: 14 Feb. 1999 Source: Daily Herald (IL) Copyright: 1999 The Daily Herald Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.dailyherald.com/ Author: Katie C. Moore Section: Sec. 1 VALENTINE'S MASSACRE MARKED END OF ERA The year was 1929, and it marked the apex of a decade in Chicago that roared into history. Liquor was illegal, though there was plenty of it thanks to Chicago's infamous gangsters - Al Capone, Johnny Torrio, Big Jim Colosimo and George "Bugs" Moran. Lawlessness in the Windy City was the rule, until an innocuous holiday - known for its celebration of love - marked the beginning of the end of a ruthless, brutal era. On St. Valentine's Day 70 years ago, two so-called cops and two men in plain clothes drove out in a black Cadillac that looked like an undercover squad car. They pulled up behind a brick warehouse at 2122 N. Clark St. and minutes later had seven men lined up with their palms flat against a yellow brick wall. The thugs mowed them down with machine guns. A small parking lot wedged between two apartment buildings is all that remains in Chicago from the brutal massacre. A peaceful Lincoln Park neighborhood now envelopes the Clark Street block on the city's North Side. The warehouse was demolished in 1967 by the National Wrecking Company. A Canadian businessman purchased the wall, once stained with the blood of the seven gangsters executed in front of it, according to Sheldon Mandell, president of the wrecking company. The wall was rebuilt, brick by brick, in a men's club in Saskatchewan. Bob Ernst, an antique dealer who works just doors away from the former warehouse, remembers visiting the former crime scene as a child with his father. "It was kind of eerie," Ernst, 50, said. "You could put your fingers in the machine gun bullet holes." Those holes in the wall crossed in three horizontal lines, and Ernst said he could see how the mobsters sprayed their machine gun fire. Police could never prove Capone ordered the slaughter, but wiretaps placed on Capone's phones by federal Prohibition agents showed he knew rival gangster "Bugs" Moran was intercepting his liquor shipments. One of those shipments, hijacked from Detroit, was supposed to be delivered to the warehouse the night before the killings, according to Paul Heimel, the author of a new book about Eliot Ness, the man who helped bring Capone - and his era - down. But there's plenty of evidence the gangster's legacy and the memory of the massacre still flow through the veins of organized crime in Chicago. "There's no question that what (Capone) did in the 1920s and '30s laid the foundation for organized crime today," said Ross Rice, a spokesman for the FBI. Some of the Mafia leaders of the 1970s were Capone's underlings in the 1920s, he said. Chicago's Crime Commission has tracked organized crime since before the St. Valentine's Day massacre. Recently, it published a list of about 150 current suspected mob leaders. "We've built our reputation on 80 years of naming names," said Wayne A. Johnson, chief investigator for the commission. While street gangs and mob crime families do not now deal in illegal alcohol, they still have their hands in drugs, gambling and businesses in the Chicago area, Johnson said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Study shows minorities more likely to do time for drug-related crimes (The Associated Press says a study by the Connecticut General Assembly's Office of Legislative Research found that while 62 percent of those arrested on drug offenses in 1997 were white, that group made up only 11 percent of those serving prison time for drug convictions. Statistics from the U.S. Justice Department show that nationwide, blacks account for 38 percent of those arrested for drug offenses and 59 percent of those convicted.) From: CLaw7MAn@webtv.net (Mike Steindel) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 17:35:28 -0800 (PST) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: [cp] Minorities more likely to do TIME I just saw this again...Whats the deal with all these studies that always come to the same conclusion. Instead of studying the problem why is it nothing is ever done to correct the wrong...It is wrong to treat drug use with JAIL...I think these things have been studied to death its time to learn from our studies....People without money go to JAIL. Non whites go to JAIL more often. Non whites without money always go to JAIL, Guilty or Innocent....Those are what the results of almost all the studies have always found...Lets stop funding the studies and change things for the better... Learn how you can register to vote... Go to www.fec.gov because other than revolution "which is not gonna happen" its the best way to make a difference....Here is the study.... *** Study shows minorities more likely to do time for drug-related crimes By Associated Press, 02/14/99 14:10 HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Minorities in Connecticut are more likely to do prison time for drug crimes than whites, according to a legislative report. The study by the General Assembly's Office of Legislative Research found that while 62 percent of those arrested on drug offenses in 1997 were white, that group made up only 11 percent of those serving prison time for drug convictions. Statistics from the U.S. Justice Department show that blacks account for 38 percent of those arrested for drug offenses nationally and 59 percent of those convicted. Mike Lawlor, the House chairman of the Legislature's Judiciary committee, said he's disturbed by the numbers, but doesn't believe police, prosecutors or judges are racist. He said part of the reason for the statistics may be that anti-drug efforts normally take place in the cities, where many of those caught buying are white, and those charged with the more serious offenses tend to be minorities. ''I think the way the drug laws are enforced tends to focus primarily on blacks and Latinos in terms of selling,'' Lawlor said. ''Therefore, you have most of the arrests of the big shots taking place there.'' Nicholas Pastore, the former New Haven police chief who runs the New Haven office of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, said he thinks minorities in the city tend to buy more often, but in less quantity, than wealthier whites from the suburbs. ''You don't buy as often, so you have less risk, but you buy more weight,'' said Pastore. ''Where as a person in the city might live on $10 at a time, a person in middle or upper middle class America lives on $100 or $1,000 at a time.'' The result is poor and minority drug suspects often have previous records, he said. And that means a longer sentence. Lawlor said he will advocate training several members of the state Board of Parole and members of the staff in substance abuse. Those officials would be assigned to consider parole bids of prisoners identified as having drug problems. The prisoners could get time knocked off their sentences by undergoing drug treatment in prison and after being released, he said. Craig Parker, a University of New Haven professor of criminal justice, said he thinks a number of factors probably account for the disparity in drug cases. But he said he thinks any analysis must consider racism. He noted many studies have shown that minorities are more likely to face the death penalty - especially those convicted of killing whites - than whites are. ''I think one has to raise questions about race up and down the criminal justice system,'' Parker said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dad Fights School On Drug Tests (UPI says the father of a teenager who was suspended from school in Ewing, New Jersey, for refusing to take a drug test after he fell asleep in class, says he and his son are ready to fight the school board.) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 14:02:34 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NJ: Wire: Dad Fights School On Drug Tests Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Dad fights school on drug tests Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International DAD FIGHTS SCHOOL ON DRUG TESTS (EWING) - The father of a Ewing, N.J., teenager suspended from school for refusing to take a drug test says he and his son are ready to fight the school board. Michael Glappa Jr. was suspended for 10 days after he refused to undergo a school-ordered drug test when he was found napping in class. Glappa admitted that he has used marijuana in the past, but said he fell asleep in class because he was sitting next to a heater that made him sleepy. The boy's father, Michael Glappa Sr., says his son has taken a drug test on his own to prove that he is drug-free. School board officials say they even if Glappa is shown to be drug-free, he still might not be admitted into school until his suspension is up. The boy's father says has retained a lawyer and plans to fight the school board if necessary.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 19 Inmates Moved In Bid To Bust Drug Ring (The Washington Post says hundreds of prison guards and state police, under the guise of conducting an emergency drill, yesterday removed 19 inmates from Maryland's maximum security House of Correction in Jessup. The exercise was intended to break up a network that officials said was dealing drugs and bootleg liquor in the 1,200-prisoner institution. Three correctional officers were also stopped as they came to work when special ion-scan machines at the prison entrance detected illegal drugs on their bodies.) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:42:20 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MD: WP: 19 Inmates Moved In Bid To Bust Drug Ring Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Galasyn Pubdate: 14 Feb 1999 Source: Washington Post (DC) Copyright: 1999 The Washington Post Company Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071 Feedback: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Author: Paul W. Valentine 19 INMATES MOVED IN BID TO BUST DRUG RING Md. Prison Group 'Too Influential' With a massive show of force to deter any outbursts, prison guards and state police yesterday removed 19 inmates from Maryland's maximum security House of Correction in Jessup to break up a network that officials said was dealing drugs and bootleg liquor in the 1,200-prisoner institution. Under the guise of conducting an emergency drill, hundreds of correctional officers, armed with stun guns and tear gas and accompanied by attack dogs, swarmed through the fortress-like prison. They seized the 19 inmates during a cell-by-cell search for weapons, drugs and other contraband. There were no reports of violence or injuries. By early afternoon, a dozen handmade knives and a small quantity of drugs had been confiscated, officials said, with more expected as the sweep continued through the century-old building. Inmates flushed drugs down toilets as search teams approached, officials said. Three correctional officers also were stopped as they came to work when special ion-scan machines at the prison entrance detected illegal drugs on their bodies. They were ordered to undergo urinalysis, and they could face dismissal and criminal charges. The 19 inmates, who were strip-searched, handcuffed and placed in waist chains and leg irons, were taken by bus to the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center 20 miles north in Baltimore, the state's toughest lockup, known as Supermax. They will be held there temporarily, officials said, then transferred to other prisons, possibly including some in other states. "We're trying to cut the head off the snake," said George Brosan, deputy secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, who was present for the prison sweep, along with other high-ranking officials. He said that prison authorities, who can transfer inmates if they perceive a security problem, wanted to disperse the 19 to minimize their ability to remain in touch and exert control over the House of Correction or any of the state's other 25 prison facilities. Brosan and Acting Commissioner of Correction William Sondervan told reporters at a briefing that the inmates, most of them serving long sentences on murder and armed robbery convictions, were exerting an internal grip on the institution, fostering illicit activity, from drug smuggling to manufacturing homemade liquor called "jump study." Officials said they were also investigating reports of prostitution involving female prison employees. "They weren't running the place," Sondervan said, "but they were too influential." "What we had to do," said public safety department spokesman Leonard Sipes, "was to take action now because the possibility somewhere down the road is that it would have gotten out of control." Signs of the prisoners' mounting influence, other officials said, included evidence that the inmates were intimidating some guards and protecting others in exchange for favors. Recent inmate drug-testing at the House of Correction, according to a prison report, showed 13 percent of the total population had given positive urine samples -- almost quadruple the rate among the state's 22,000 inmates. The figures suggest, officials said, that drugs are reaching a large number of inmates with the complicity of a small number of guards or other employees. Yesterday's operation was secretly planned for weeks by a handful of top corrections officials. Concerned that the sweep could trigger widespread anger and violence, officials clamped tight "lock-down" conditions on the inmates, many of them veterans of recent uprisings in Jessup and other state prisons. Timing of the action -- begun early on a Saturday when there typically is minimal prisoner activity and movement -- was a key component in the planning. After the prisoners finished breakfast at 7 a.m., they returned to their cells and dormitories for a routine head count. Once there, they were kept locked up, and the search for weapons and other contraband began. The crackdown was part of a continuing criminal investigation in the institution, which includes the expanded use of federally funded anti-drug hardware, such as video cameras and night vision devices, as well as new high-tech equipment donated by Bell Atlantic to monitor inmate telephone calls. Said Sondervan, "We've sent a message: Drugs will not be tolerated."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Newspaper: Probes launched into Customs Service (According to the Associated Press, the Miami Herald said Sunday that investigators from the U.S. Senate and Treasury Department had launched nationwide probes into alleged mismanagement in the U.S. Customs Service. The probes were prompted in part by stories in the Herald that recounted dozens of examples of employees whose careers flourished despite instances of dating drug smugglers, tampering with evidence, skimming seized drug cash and having sex with a paid informant.) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 15:58:18 -0600 From: "robert w. frazier" (email@example.com) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: you say NO WAY.. Sender: email@example.com Newspaper: Probes launched into Customs Service The Associated Press 02/14/99 4:06 PM Eastern MIAMI (AP) -- U.S. Senate and Treasury Department investigators have launched nationwide probes into alleged mismanagement in the U.S. Customs Service, The Miami Herald reported Sunday. The investigations are expected to culminate this summer in Senate oversight hearings and proposed reforms, the newspaper said. The probes were prompted in part by stories in the Herald that reported dozens of examples of employees whose careers flourished despite instances of dating drug smugglers, tampering with evidence, skimming seized drug cash and having sex with a paid informant. A Customs investigation found inappropriate leniency in at least five cases, The newspaper reported. Customs Commissioner Raymond Kelly has begun to make changes, including forced moves of Miami's three top administrators. A team from the Treasury Department's Office of Inspector General is Reviewing cases detailed by the Herald. Last week, the team told Customs it is expanding the probe to include an audit of 1997 and 1998 internal affairs case files in El Paso, Texas; New Orleans, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and the Customs database center in Virginia. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? We welcome your feedback. (c) 1999 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1999 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Federal Probes Target Customs (The Knight-Ridder news service version in the San Jose Mercury News) Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 20:03:00 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Federal Probes Target Customs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Author: Knight-Ridder FEDERAL PROBES TARGET CUSTOMS Newspaper Reported Cronyism, Leniency MIAMI -- U.S. Senate and Treasury investigators have launched simultaneous nationwide probes of alleged mismanagement within the U.S. Customs Service, questioning systematic cronyism and undeserved leniency toward favored employees who break the law. Both investigations were prompted in part by stories in the Miami Herald that found dozens of examples of careers that flourished after misdeeds such as dating drug smugglers, tampering with evidence, skimming seized drug cash, having sex with a paid informant and other crimes and policy violations. Hearings expected The investigations are expected to culminate this summer in Senate oversight hearings and proposed reforms. One possibility: stripping the 20,000-employee Customs Service of all its internal-affairs functions. Customs' own ongoing investigation found inappropriate leniency in at least five cases cited by the Herald, and Customs Commissioner Raymond Kelly has begun a major agency shake-up that has included forced moves of Miami's three top administrators. Kelly's actions are the latest in a series of attempted reforms imposed on the agency by federal regulators and oversight panels in recent years. Cases under review A team from the Treasury Department's Office of Inspector General is reviewing all the Florida cases detailed by the Herald. Last week, the team told Customs it is expanding the probe to include an audit of 1997 and 1998 internal-affairs case files in El Paso, Texas; New Orleans; Philadelphia; Chicago; Los Angeles; Miami; and the Customs database center in Virginia. In addition, U.S. Sen. William Roth Jr., R-Del., chair of the Senate Finance Committee, requested three years of disciplinary records nationwide, including all complaints, allegations of employee misconduct, and all of Customs' internal referrals to federal prosecutors.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton To Discuss Drug War, Trade In Mexico (Reuters says U.S. President Clinton was due to arrive in the Yucatan city of Merida Monday for talks with Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo that will focus heavily on the two countries' strained alliance in the drug war.) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:44:04 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US/Mexico: Wire: Clinton To Discuss Drug War, Trade In Mexico Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 14 Feb 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. Author: Richard Jacobsen CLINTON TO DISCUSS DRUG WAR, TRADE IN MEXICO MERIDA, Mexico, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Mexican leaders prepared to welcome U.S. President Bill Clinton on Sunday for talks that will focus heavily on the two countries' strained alliance in the drug war. Clinton was due to arrive in the Yucatan city of Merida at 6 p.m. local time (7 p.m. EST) (0000 GMT Monday) for his first foreign trip since being acquitted by the U.S. Senate on Friday of impeachment charges in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. President Ernesto Zedillo was to meet with Clinton later on Sunday and Monday. Mexico is bristling over the annual U.S. process of certifying allies in its war on drugs even though there are indications that the Zedillo government will not be blacklisted. The Clinton administration will report to the U.S. Congress within two weeks on the extent of cooperation received from nations viewed as major producers of drugs or routes for illegal narcotics entering the United States. Mexican Foreign Minister Rosario Green told reporters ahead of the Clinton visit that the U.S. anti-drug certification process was not appropriate for Mexico. She said it "is frankly against the spirit of collaboration that should exist between our two countries, our governments and our peoples." Decertification could mean a loss of some trade and economic benefits. U.S. officials estimate that two-thirds of Colombian cocaine landing on U.S. streets crosses Mexican territory, and they note that Mexico is also a major producer of marijuana, opium and amphetamines. Clinton administration officials have indicated they believe Zedillo's government is making some progress in stemming the flow of illegal drugs, an indication that Mexico will remain in good standing in the U.S. anti-drug effort. But some members of Congress and others in the United States want Clinton to step up pressure on Mexican drug smuggling and drug-related police and government corruption by decertifying the country as an ally in the drug war. Many Mexicans view the certification process as an arrogant, one-sided exercise by the United States. Mexico's U.S. critics "ignore that the growth in drug trafficking is a product of the booming market represented by the millions of addicts living in U.S. territory," Mexico City's El Universal daily said in a weekend editorial. Amid the certification controversy, Clinton and Zedillo are expected to announce new steps to fight drug smuggling, including a recently unveiled Mexican programme that will include high-tech systems for uncovering drugs in vehicles crossing the 2,000-mile (3,300-km) U.S.-Mexico border. The two are also likely to praise progress made in the five years of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the United States, Mexico and Canada. "I'm under the impression that it will be a very positive conversation (on NAFTA) because the results measured in increased trade and investment have been positive," Green said. The Mexico-U.S. talks will also touch on ways to protect the lives of undocumented Mexicans crossing the border, after a surge in deaths from dehydration, exposure and drowning. Clinton and Zedillo will also address ways to help Central American nations recover from Hurricane Mitch.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clintons, Lawmakers Headed For Mexico (The UPI version notes Clinton was accompanied by two dozen members of Congress. On March 1 Clinton is expected to certify Mexico as a fully cooperating ally in the war on some drug users.) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:44:01 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US/Mexico: Wire: Clintons, Lawmakers Headed For Mexico Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 14 Feb 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International CLINTONS, LAWMAKERS HEADED FOR MEXICO WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) - President Clinton is headed to Mexico for his semiannual consultation with his Mexican counterpart, Ernesto Zedillo, with economic agreements, border matters and Mexico's effort to stop the illegal drug trade on the agenda. Clinton, his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and two dozen lawmakers will spend tonight and Monday with Zedillo and other Mexican lawmakers in the ancient city of Merida. Clinton originally planned the visit as part of a weeklong tour of Central America but postponed all but the Mexico stop until March to await his acquittal in the impeachment trial. The Clintons departed the White House without comment and were expected to arrive in the Yucatan peninsula early this evening. They are to dine with Zedillo and his wife later. U.S. officials anticipate no major new agreements between Clinton and Zedillo, although they predicted a series of deal-signings in such areas as trade, environmental protection, immigration, border safety and health care. Clinton's visit also comes days before he is due to make his annual March 1 decision on whether to add Mexico to the small list of countries deemed to be not cooperating in the fight against drugs. The U.S. president is expected to renew his certification of Mexico's drug-fighting efforts, and face criticism from lawmakers who disagree and Mexicans offended by the process. Clinton was joined on the trip by 24 members of Congress, including two senators and four Republicans. The two presidents plan to meet Monday for several hours at a historic hotel outside of Merida, both by themselves and later with Cabinet-level advisers, then return to Merida to sign a joint declaration. National security adviser Sandy Berger, who is traveling with the president, said Clinton will devote the visit to making ``steady, practical progress across the range of common interests that we have with Mexico.'' He said the agenda is topped by economic and trade matters, crediting the 5- year-old North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico with helping the three countries weather the worldwide financial crisis. Berger said Clinton and an entourage of top advisers planned to discuss other matters, as well, including strengthening cross-border cooperation against trafficking in human beings, improving methods for handling complaints of border violence and battling a new strain of drug-resistant tuberculosis along the border, among others. Officials said the U.S.-Mexico talks also will be aimed at reaching agreements in areas that include global warming, environmental protection provisions under NAFTA, expanding relief efforts for Central American victims of Hurricane Mitch, increasing cooperation against forest fires, and better protecting endangered species.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton Turns Focus To Mexico (The Chicago Tribune version) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 15:57:11 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Clinton Turns Focus To Mexico Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Pubdate: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Section: Sec. 1 Copyright: 1999 Chicago Tribune Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/ Author: Paul de la Garza and Roger Simon CLINTON TURNS FOCUS TO MEXICO MEXICO CITY -- When the Zedillo administration got word that President Clinton was coming to Mexico for a "working visit" this weekend, the first question some officials asked was, "Why?" Not that Clinton is unwelcome here. The U.S. and Mexico have generally good relations, and other than the annual question of whether Mexico will be certified as a partner in the war on illegal drugs, there are no pressing issues that require a visit by the world's most powerful leader. What then, some wondered, would bring Clinton to Mexico, and for less than 24 hours? The trip was planned before Friday's impeachment vote was scheduled in the Senate. Clinton and President Ernesto Zedillo have a longstanding agreement to meet every six months. They last met in the U.S. in June following a session at the United Nations. But some analysts suggest now that the Senate has voted not to remove the president from office, the White House is bent on showing the American people and the world that Clinton is very much in control of his own agenda. "He wants to get the focus back . . . by looking presidential," said John Bailey, a political scientist who studies Mexican politics at Georgetown University. Consequently, said Bailey, "He'll be seen doing foreign policy stuff." Over the years, Mexican government officials say, Clinton and Zedillo have established a good working relationship. It was Clinton who helped push a bailout package of Mexico after the peso's value plunged in December 1994, dragging the nation into economic chaos. Clinton is widely seen as a champion of Mexico's interests, especially in certifying every spring that Mexico is doing its part in the war on illegal drugs and is therefore eligible for U.S. aid, which amounted to $40 million in 1997. Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton are scheduled to arrive Sunday evening in Merida on the Yucatan Peninsula. On Monday, Clinton and Zedillo are scheduled to meet privately for an hour before opening up the session to other officials. The president and Mrs. Clinton are to fly back to Washington in the afternoon. Clinton initially had planned to visit hurricane-ravaged Central America on this trip as well, but delayed it until next month. Mike Hammer, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the meeting would touch on a host of issues. "In essence," he said, "we try to maintain a close relationship with Mexico and we have a wide range of issues for the trip," including "a review of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), which has been a very successful treaty, and migration issues." Hammer said there is growing concern in Washington and Mexico City at the number of migrants passing through Mexico on the way to the U.S., a result of the damage from Hurricane Mitch in Central America last year. Hammer said some environmental issues would be discussed, especially in the border area. "General law-enforcement issues" will round out the agenda, he said. By March 1, Clinton must certify to Congress that Mexico is "fully cooperating" in the drug war. The White House, however, said no action would be taken until Secretary of State Madeleine Albright makes a recommendation, expected within the next two weeks. Every year, Mexican officials bristle when the certification issue arises. Many view the process as hypocritical, given the United States' high demand for illegal drugs.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton And Zedillo To Talk About Drug War (The Houston Chronicle version) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 14:05:51 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Mexico: Clinton And Zedillo To Talk About Drug War Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: GALAN@prodigy.net (G. A ROBISON) Pubdate: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Forum: http://www.chron.com/content/hcitalk/index.html Author: DUDLEY ALTHAUS Page: 34A CLINTON AND ZEDILLO TO TALK ABOUT DRUG WAR MEXICO CITY - A tense year put behind him with the end of his impeachment trial, President Clinton is doing what many stressed-out Americans have done for generations: He's heading for Mexico. But what had been expected to be a relaxing stopover after a trip to storm-ravaged Central America has been transformed into a agenda-filled visit framed by the annual tug-of-war between Clinton's administration and the U.S. Congress over Mexico's anti-narcotics efforts. "It's going to be a working trip," said Mike Hammer, a spokesman at the White House. Clinton's visit to Central America has been postponed until early next month. But the president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton are scheduled to arrive in the city of Merida, capital of Yucatan state, tonight for a 24-hour visit with Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. "The president is going to Mexico because this is arguably the most important bilateral relationship that the United States has," Samuel "Sandy" Berger, Clinton's national security adviser, told reporters in Washington last week. "The focus of the trip will be on steady, practical progress across the range of common interests that we have with Mexico." Clinton, Zedillo and their wives will dine together tonight in Merida. Then the two leaders will hold talks, along with members of their cabinets and staffs, on Monday morning. After about 2 1/2 hours of meetings with Zedillo, Clinton will give a 40-minute speech to business executives Monday afternoon in Merida before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington. Despite the brevity of the visit, White House officials say Clinton and Zedillo will discuss issues ranging from narcotics and immigration to the five-year-old North America Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which formally links the economies of Mexico, the United States and Canada. "All these (presidential) visits are important because they oblige the presidents, especially the U.S. president, to focus on the relationship," said Rafael Fernandez de Castro, an expert on U.S.-Mexico relations. "You have started seeing some negligence in Washington in terms of Mexico. The (Clinton) administration has been distracted." Both Clinton and Zedillo, who will leave office in 2000, are winding up presidencies plagued by crises: Clinton's personal and political, Zedillo's economic. That has led some analysts to question the importance of this visit, especially since it is to be so brief. "This is the last summit for lame ducks," said Federico Estevez, a Mexico City political scientist. "This is their last hurrah before they have to hand over (bilateral policy) to their candidate in the presidential races. Still, the Merida meeting comes just weeks before Clinton must make his annual "certification" to Congress that Mexico and other countries are cooperating fully with the U.S. government's effort to curtail the international narcotics trade. Despite years of corruption scandals and evidence of high-level official involvement with drug smuggling organizations, no U.S. administration has ever decertified Mexico on the grounds its government was not making a good-faith effort in the drug war. Last week, Clinton administration officials once again praised Mexico's efforts in the drug war. "There's a difference between cooperation and success," State Department spokesman James Rubin said. Two-thirds of Colombian cocaine passes through Mexico on its way to U.S. consumers, U.S. drug enforcement experts say. Mexican narcotics gangs also produce and ship large quantities of heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine to the United States. The multibillion-dollar narcotics industry has spun a web of corruption in the Mexican government, from low-level police officers employed as body guards for smugglers to the highest levels of power. For example, Mexico's newly appointed drug czar was arrested in February 1996 for allegedly being employed by the country's most powerful narcotics smuggler. The certification issue has become an annual ritual in Washington, as the White House and Congress tussle over Mexico, and an annual torment in Mexico, where many resent what they see as U.S. meddling in this country's internal affairs. Zedillo sent Mexican Interior Minister Francisco Labastida to Washington last week to sway the U.S. administration and Congress. Some members of Congress publicly vowed again to challenge the president's expected certification of Mexico. But some analysts believe such challenges will be dampened in a Congress weary from a year of political scandal and a bruising impeachment process. "I don't see that Mexico constitutes a cause for battle (in the Congress)," said political scientist John Bailey, an expert on Mexican politics at Georgetown University in Washington. "They're not looking for a fight right away (after the impeachment trial)." Berger said that despite tensions over drug enforcement, immigration and other issues, the U.S.-Mexico relations "begins with economics." He pointed out that Mexico is now the United States' second largest trading partner, after Canada, and imported $79 billion in U.S. goods last year, double the total before the trade agreement was signed. "NAFTA has helped insulate both countries from the impact of the global financial crisis," Berger said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton for Mexico for quick summit (The Associated Press version) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: Clinton for Mexico for quick summit Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 17:22:58 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org By Associated Press, 02/14/99 14:40 WASHINGTON (AP) - In a quick pivot from impeachment, President Clinton heads for Mexico on Sunday for a quick summit to encourage more progress in its difficult struggle against illegal drugs and government corruption. Two days after his acquittal by the Senate, Clinton was to meet with President Ernesto Zedillo at Merida in the Yucatan peninsula, a popular tourist destination. The visit - 23 hours from landing to takeoff - comes two weeks before the administration must render a formal evaluation of Mexico's cooperation in fighting drug trafficking. Clinton and Zedillo have met about every six months over the last few years, and officials say this meeting is intended simply to maintain good relations. The two leaders are expected to discuss immigration and complete an agreement on border safety and curbing border violence. Mexico could be hit with tough economic sanctions if it receives a failing grade in the drug battle. While the administration says Mexico has a tremendous drug problem, it is believed likely Clinton will certify Mexico as a cooperative ally in fighting narcotics, as it has been in all 12 years since the congressionally mandated review process began. Even before Clinton's trip, the administration appeared to be laying groundwork for a positive report while acknowledging that cocaine seizures by the Mexican police have dropped. ''President Zedillo is clearly trying to establish a clean government and respect for the rule of law,'' Sandy Berger, the president's national security adviser, told reporters. He said Mexico is confronting its problem of government corruption ''with remarkable candor.'' ''Indeed, much of what we know and much of what troubles us about the extent of corruption in the Mexican law-enforcement effort has emerged from Mexico's own efforts to uproot it,'' Berger said. ''And that's something we need to acknowledge and encourage.'' James Dobbins, the National Security Council's senior director for InterAmerican Affairs, said, ''We think we've made a lot of progress over the last year.'' Mexico blames the United States for much of its drug problem, because Americans are the world's biggest buyers of illicit narcotics. Yet, in hopes of winning certification, Mexico announced a $400 million ''total war'' Feb. 4 that calls for buying aircraft, ships, radar, X-ray equipment and other items. Mexico is a major transit point for cocaine shipments from South America to the United States. It also is a major producer of marijuana and a significant produer of heroin. With frictions over drugs, the administration sought to highlight progress on another front: booming economic trade between the United States and Mexico in the five years since the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA. Mexico has emerged as the second largest foreign market for U.S. exports, after Canada. It eclipses even Japan, Berger noted. U.S. exports to Mexico total $79 billion a year, more than twice the pre-NAFTA figure. Mexico accounts for close to 20 percent of the total of U.S. export growth in the last five years. ''So it's worth remembering tha our trade relationship with Mexico has protected a lot of American workers from losing their jobs at a time of tremendous uncertainty and upheaval in the global economy,'' Berger said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton To Go To Mexico (A different Associated Press version goes into more detail on the behind-the-scenes certification struggle.) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 18:21:43 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Wire: Clinton To Go To Mexico Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press Author: GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer CLINTON TO GO TO MEXICO WASHINGTON (AP) White House officials admit that Mexico still has a "tremendous problem" with drug trafficking but are praising its eradication efforts in advance of President Clinton's two-day trip there that begins Sunday. Mexico's war against drug traffickers, highlighted by a new $400 million, land-sea-and-air battle plan, tops the agenda for Clinton's meetings with Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. The setting will be the Yucatan Peninsula, a tourist haven where the two presidents and their wives will have a Valentine's evening dinner before Clinton and Zedillo get down to business on Monday. They have met seven times previously. In addition to drugs, their agenda includes trade, migration and the environment. Their meetings will take place against a background of a congressionally mandated review of Mexico's cooperation with U.S. counternarcotics efforts in the past year. Mexico could face stiff economic sanctions if it receives a failing grade, but all signs point to a U.S. decision to "certify" Mexico as fully cooperative as it has been all 12 years the process has been in effect. Taking nothing for granted about Clinton's decision, however, Mexico declared "total war" against the drug chieftains Feb. 4 through a program that specifies early detection of drug flights and sea shipments and a stepped-up counternarcotics role for the Mexican army. The three-year plan contemplates purchases of aircraft, ships, radar, X-ray equipment and other items. Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, said Friday that drug control is an important part of the U.S. agenda. In the two years since Clinton and Zedillo established a set of common objectives, he said, "We have seen Mexico extradite fugitives, eradicate thousands of acres of opium, criminalize money-laundering and institute a new screening process for law-enforcement officials." "Still, obviously this is a tremendous problem for Mexico, but one that they are tackling," he said. Last year, with the certification decision just weeks away, the two countries announced a plan outlining joint projects against drug consumption, money laundering, gunrunning and narcotics smuggling. The review process targets about 30 countries deemed to be sources for drugs or through which drugs transit. Only a handful were decertified a year ago. While seemingly assured a clean bill of health from Clinton, there were no such assurances that Mexico's expected certification won't be overturned by Congress, where skepticism runs deep about the Zedillo government's performance. Quoting from an internal White House memo, The Washington Post reported last week that congressional opponents of certification want more than good-faith efforts "They want results, including extraditions of Mexican nationals, more prosecutions of corrupt officials and more than paper agreements about cooperative law-enforcement arrangements." With a two-thirds vote, the Congress could overturn a Clinton certification, which officials fear could trigger a nationalist backlash in Mexico. The certification process is widely disliked in Mexico. "It does more harm than good," says Rafael Fernandez de Castro, a Mexican academic on leave this year at the Brookings Institution. He said the process fuels nationalistic feelings that impair cross border relations. Robert Leiken, an expert on Mexico at Brookings, says Mexicans are baffled by the process because they believe the drug problem exists only because of the demand for narcotics in the United States. Leiken questions whether it is realistic to assume that Mexico will be able to deal with narcotics traffickers, given its inability to cope with a steadily worsening problem of street crime. State Department spokesman James P. Rubin acknowledged this past week that the drug problem may be more than Mexico can handle because of the vast resources of the drug runners. But he noted the certification process does not take into account results. "There is a difference between cooperation and success," he said. Clinton's trip to Mexico and other Central American countries, originally scheduled for last week, was postponed after the Senate set a goal of finishing the president's impeachment trial by Friday, when he still would have been out of the country. The Senate acquitted Clinton on Friday. The Mexico leg was rescheduled for Sunday and Monday. He will visit Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala in March. Mexico is a major transit point for U.S.-bound cocaine shipments from South America. It is also a major producer of marijuana and a significant producer of heroin. A delegation of Mexican officials visiting Washington admitted Wednesday that seizures of illicit narcotics have been down over the past year. They raised the possibility that Colombian narcotraffickers may be relying more on routes other than Mexico for their drug shipments because of increased law enforcement in Mexico.
------------------------------------------------------------------- U.S. Is Brushing Off Mexico's Drug Data (A New York Times piece about the annual contortions experienced by the United States government while certifying Mexico as an ally in the drug war says that by most statistical measures, the Mexican record looks especially bad this year. Drug seizures by the Mexican police have fallen significantly. Nearly all of the most important Mexican narcotics traffickers identified last year remain at large. The promised extraditions of some Mexican drug suspects to the United States have not materialized, and drug enforcement programs have been rocked by a series of public conflicts between the two governments. But "This is not about what Mexico has done," said one official with the Clinton administration. "This is about convincing the Hill that whatever Mexico has done is enough.") Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:31:18 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: NYT: U.S. Is Brushing Off Mexico's Drug Data Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Galasyn Pubdate: 14 Feb 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/ Author: Tim Golden with Christopher S. Wren U.S. IS BRUSHING OFF MEXICO'S DRUG DATA WASHINGTON -- As the Clinton administration weighs its annual evaluation of Mexico's cooperation in fighting illegal drugs, U.S. officials admit privately that by most statistical measures, the Mexican record looks especially bad this year. Drug seizures by the Mexican police have fallen significantly. Nearly all of the most important Mexican narcotics traffickers identified last year remain at large. The promised extraditions of some Mexican drug suspects to the United States have not materialized, and drug enforcement programs have been rocked by a series of public conflicts between the two governments. Yet even as President Clinton embarks on a brief visit to Mexico starting Sunday, his aides have neither despaired of such facts nor spent much time analyzing them. "There is a difference between cooperation and success," the State Department spokesman, James Rubin, argued last week. While their cooperation might not be having much effect on the problem, he suggested, Mexican officials "are cooperating more closely with the United States at virtually every level than ever before." The fervor with which administration officials are praising Mexico's record -- even before studying the assessments being collected from various government agencies -- underscores how for Mexico the yearly "certification" process has become more of a joint public-relations campaign aimed at the Congress than an objective appraisal. "This is not about what Mexico has done," one administration official said, speaking on the condition that he not be identified. "This is about convincing the Hill that whatever Mexico has done is enough." Administration officials say their evaluation, which is expected by the end of the month and mandated by a 1986 law for countries where drugs are produced or transported, is particularly counterproductive in Mexico. To observe the law strictly and possibly impose the economic penalties it contemplates, they argue, would be to place a strategic and complex relationship at risk for just one of the many interests that the United States has in Mexico. And Mexican officials have done their best to underscore that risk. "I don't even want to think what decertification would provoke," Mexico's ambassador to the United States, Jesus Reyes Heroles, said in an interview. "The equilibrium that underlies our relationship with the United States would be undone." Many analysts of Mexican politics describe such warnings as overblown. Moreover, aides to a half-dozen Washington legislators who have played leading roles on the drug issue say Mexico's decertification is unlikely anyway. The aides, speaking on the condition they not be identified, said they expected a formal endorsement of Mexico's efforts from the administration and then an energetic congressional effort to override that endorsement. But they added that they see no clear sign that they will be any more able to reverse the certification than they were last year, when a Senate motion for disapproval gathered only 45 votes. "There's a kind of weariness with fighting the same battle over and over," a Senate aide said. "It gets old." Supporters of the administration note that although the Mexican authorities have not made much headway against the drug mafias over the last year, the establishment of elite anti-drug units within the army and the federal police has led to closer working relationships with the CIA, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI. But officials from each of those agencies challenge the administration's public assertion that the Mexican authorities are trying their best. Those officials contend that the obstacle to success in Mexico is not so much the strength of the traffickers or the inexperience of the police but the Mexican government's unwillingness to fight corruption more aggressively. Intelligence officers working with the military's special anti-drug force, the Center for Anti-Narcotics Information, say they believe that some of its efforts may have been compromised by corrupt superiors, officials said. Three senior agents of an elite Mexican police force trained by U.S. officials failed lie-detector tests last year over questions about their contacts with drug traffickers. The agents were moved out of the unit but remain in the federal police. Drug investigations that have touched on several well-known Mexican politicians and at least a dozen high-ranking military officers have not yet led to any arrests, despite what U.S. officials describe as strong evidence that some of the politicians and officers have sought to protect traffickers in return for large bribes. Perhaps most important, officials say that on a series of occasions over the last year, U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement officials have provided their Mexican counterparts with information on the whereabouts of powerful drug traffickers, only to have Mexican agents mishandle the intelligence or wait for hours before carrying out raids. "We give them houses, we give them phone numbers -- and nothing happens," said a U.S. official. "Cases go nowhere." An embarrassing example of the problem will provide a backdrop for President Clinton's meetings with President Ernesto Zedillo, which are to take place in and around the city of Merida, on the Yucatan peninsula. Just across the peninsula, in the state of Quintana Roo, U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement officials have been working for more than a year with elite Mexican forces to dismantle a major drug-smuggling operation with headquarters in the resort city of Cancun. In one debacle last spring, U.S. officials said, officers of the military intelligence unit recognized two of the most important traffickers in the Cancun organization, Ramon Alcides Magana and Albino Quintero Meraz, but made no attempt to capture them. On other occasions, U.S. intelligence officials gave officers of the military unit home addresses and telephone numbers for each of the two traffickers. But again, officials said, opportunities to arrest the pair were lost. Last October, the unit appeared to get an important break when it captured Gilberto Garza Garcia, the trafficker who oversaw the mafia's movement of cocaine shipments from Cancun up the gulf coast to McAllen, Texas. But U.S. and Mexican officials said that after negotiating with the general who headed the military unit and promising to help him trap Magana, Garza Garcia was placed in the custody of two detectives from whom he escaped the next day. The general has since been reassigned, Garza has been recaptured and the detectives have been under investigation since being found with more than $20,000 given to them by the trafficker. The White House drug-policy chief, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, suggested that such short-term failings should not distract the United States from its ultimate goals for Mexico. And while he and other White House officials have often tried to silence law-enforcement agencies that are critical of Mexico's performance, he did not hesitate to offer his own view on certification in advance of deliberations that will be overseen by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. "I think what we ought to do is look at U.S. national interests in the long term," McCaffrey said. "Do we think that partnership with Mexico is important to us and is beginning to show signs of substantial cooperation? My own advice" to Albright "is they should be certified." Mexican officials have undertaken a similarly aggressive defense of their efforts, lobbying more intensively than ever in Washington and spending $100,000 a month to hire three high-profile lobbying firms to assist them in getting their message out. Mexican officials have also held out to U.S. officials the possibility that they might yet deliver a spectacular, last-minute blow in the drug fight, one that could erase questions on Capitol Hill about their willingness to move against the mafias. Skeptical U.S. officials have taken to calling this notion "the February surprise." According to senior officials of both countries, the surprise is that the Mexican authorities, who have long been investigating the governor of Quintana Roo, Mario Villanueva Madrid, might move to indict him on drug-related charges sometime after Clinton's departure. Villanueva has repeatedly denied providing any support to the drug mafia that has flourished in Quintana Roo during his administration, but a Mexican federal judge last week denied the governor's request for information about the investigation against him.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Gets Judge's Approval (The Sunday Mail, in Australia, says Justice Alan Demack of Queensland last week discharged an invalid pensioner, 54, who had pleaded guilty to unlawfully producing and possessing a dangerous drug and two related charges. The judge ruled that marijuana use is acceptable for pain relief and noted once Anthony George Bulley used marijuana, he was able to stop using oral narcotics.) Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 06:22:19 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Pot Gets Judge's Approval Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Russell.Ken.KW@bhp.com.au (Russell, Ken KW) Pubdate: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 Source: Sunday Mail (Australia) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Chris Taylor POT GETS JUDGE'S APPROVAL A QUEENSLAND judge has ruled marijuana use is acceptable for pain relief. The landmark ruling was criticised by medical professionals and anti-drug campaigners, who said there was no scientific evidence the illegal drug eased pain. Justice Alan Demack last week discharged an invalid pensioner, 54, who pleaded guilty to unlawfully producing and possessing a dangerous drug and two related charges. Anthony George Bulley, of Dalrymple Heights near Mackay, said he used marijuana for chronic back pain. Legal sources said such a defence was not uncommon but had not succeeded before. Drug Arm education and training co-ordinator Mark Brown said the ruling sent a dangerous message, particularly to young people. "It's still an illegal substance and the man should have been penalised," he said. "In fairness, there is evidence that it does have some therapeutic benefit. But that doesn't come from actually smoking the drug but from pills containing (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) THC." Australian Medical Association federal president David Brand said: "There is no scientific evidence available from proper trials to justify the use of marijuana in palliative care. "We don't advocate that patients partake in illicit drugs." Attorney-General Matt Foley last night declined to discuss the court decision. Police charged Bulley after they uncovered 150 mostly immature marijuana plants last September. The court was told he was forced to quit his job as a plumber after suffering a back injury about six years ago. In July 1996, he had spinal surgery in Rockhampton but an infection left a hole at the top of the spine. Justice Demack found Bulley successfully used marijuana instead of narcotic pain killers to counter considerable pain "of a chronic nature" and did not impose a conviction or penalty. He said once Bulley used marijuana he had been able to give up oral narcotics.
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Tinky Stink Makes British Week (A Boston Globe dispatch from London says the Brits are beside themselves over the Rev. Jerry Falwell's "Parents Alert" Thursday to guard children against the alleged gay influence of Tinky Winky, the largest of the four Teletubbies, the British import that has become a staple on US public television for toddlers. Commenting on stupidity among Americans is a favorite pastime here, but it takes a vivid imagination to find anything sexual about the Teletubbies. In London, teenagers and young adults have been known to take drugs and hold parties watching tapes of the show. Some critics here have suggested the underlying theme of the children's series is not sex, but the ingestion of prodigious amounts of hallucinogens.) Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:43:58 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: UK: US Tinky Stink Makes British Week Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Galasyn Pubdate: 14 Feb 1999 Source: Boston Globe (MA) Copyright: 1999 Globe Newspaper Company. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/ Author: Kevin Cullen, Globe Staff US TINKY STINK MAKES BRITISH WEEK LONDON - Most Britons greeted the outings of three gay Cabinet ministers in recent months with stifled yawns. But when the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the American televangelist, outed one of the Teletubbies this past week, the country responded with guffaws. Commenting on stupidity among Americans is a favorite pastime here, and because of Falwell, the Brits had no shortage of fodder last week. News broke here on Thursday that Falwell had warned readers of his National Liberty Journal under a ''Parents Alert'' to guard their children against the influence of Tinky Winky, the largest of the four Teletubbies, the British import that has become a staple on US public television. Falwell said that Tinky Winky was a closet gay role model, part of what he considers an insidious campaign to brainwash the masses into accepting that homosexuals are normal. As evidence, Falwell cited Tinky Winky's color, purple, which he said is the gay pride color, and the triangle antenna on Tinky Winky's head, again a symbol of gay pride. And, Falwell pointed out, while Tinky Winky mumbles in the voice of a male, the purple Teletubby at times carries a handbag. In London, a spokesman for Ragdoll Productions, which created ''Teletubbies'' and distributes it in the United States, said he was perplexed by Falwell's conspiracy theory. First, the gay pride color in Britain is pink, not purple. And Tinky Winky's accessory is a magic bag, not a handbag. As for the antenna, the spokesman suggested that Falwell, or anyone else predisposed to creating controversy, could make all sorts of insinuating accusations about the antennae of the other Teletubbies. Dipsy's, for example, could be viewed as phallic. The BBC, which broadcasts ''Teletubbies'' in Britain and distributes them internationally, issued a statement saying, ''Teletubbies is an entertainment and innocent program for preschool children to enjoy. Any symbolism people may find in it is of their own making.'' Still, if Falwell's accusations against Tinky Winky are just off color, Tinky Winky is no stranger to controversy. In 1997, David Thompson, the British actor who first wore the Tinky Winky costume, was fired because, as Ragdoll and the BBC put it at the time, ''his interpretation of the role was not acceptable.'' It emerged that one of Thompson's hobbies was ''naked balloon dancing,'' whatever that is. For all the talk of sex, watching the Teletubbies is a mind-numbing experience. It takes a vivid imagination to find anything sexual about them. The Teletubbies, who wear no clothes but show no signs of genitalia, are gentle creatures who speak in gibberish - like the preschoolers who form their audience. They often engage in communal affection, known in Teletubby parlance as ''big hugs.'' In London, teenagers and young adults have been known to take drugs and hold parties watching tapes of the Teletubbies. Some critics here have suggested the underlying theme of the children's series is not sex, but the ingestion of prodigious amounts of hallucinogens. No one here had ever complained about the supposed sexual content of the Teletubbies, or more specifically that Tinky Winky was gay. That is, until Falwell piped up. The Brits, meanwhile, are beside themselves. Wait, they say, until Falwell finds out that the actress who plays Po is Pui Fan Lee, a Chinese left-wing radical. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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